The Chad Brown trained Lady Eli makes her 2017 debut on Saturday in the $350,000 Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland, facing seven foes that includes three other Grade 1 winners.
The mare made a successful return off a bout with laminitis, coming back last year to finish second in the Ballston Spa (G2) off the bench, win the Flower Bowl (G1) and miss in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) by a nose.
Her regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. will again be in the irons and will break from the one post as the even money favorite on the morning line.
She faces a stellar field that includes three other Grade 1 winners—Catch a Glimpse, Time and Motion and Illuminant.
Catch a Glimpse (5-1) will be saddled by Mark Casse, who won this race last year with Tepin. This filly won eight races in a row after a fifth-place finish in her debut, but has lost her last three. She was second in the Sand Springs at Gulfstream Park in her last outing off a four-month break.
Time and Motion (4-1) makes her first start since a sixth-place finish in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar on Dec. 4. She won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) over the Keeneland turf at the fall meeting. John Velazquez rides for trainer Jimmy Toner.
Illuminant (8-1) won the 2016 Gamely (G1) at Santa Anita last May after running third in this race last year. She came back off a 10-month layoff with a victory in the Wishing Well at Santa Anita in her last outing. Flavian Prat is in to ride for trainer Michael McCarthy.
Completing the field are Goodyearforroses (20-1), Dickinson (8-1), Kitten’s Roar (15-1) and Quidura (10-1).
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 10 The Jenny Wiley G1 (6:12 ET)
#1 Lady Eli 1-1
#7 Illuminant 8-1
#8 Quidura 10-1
#6 Time and Motion 4-1
Analysis: Lady Eli makes he first start since coming up just a nose short in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). The mare had an extended layoff with laminitis and she not only came back she looked as good as ever. She ran a solid second in the Ballston Spa (G2) off the bench and then won the Flower Bowl (G1). She also ran well winning the Appalachian (G3) here at the spring ’15 meeting off a 5 1/2 month layoff.
Her trainer Chad Brown was pointing toward a stake at Belmont Park next month but she has been working so sharply he decided to get her started early in this spot. The barn hits at a 25% clip with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff. She will be tough but this race came up pretty deep.
Illuminant ships in from the left coast for the McCarthy barn. The mare won the Wishing Well last out at Santa Anita coming back off a 10-month layoff in her last outing. Two back she won the Gamely (G1) and she ran third in this race last year, beaten 6 1/2 lengths by Tepin.
She has landed in the exacta in seven of her nine career starts on turf and should move forward in her second start off the bench for the former Pletcher assistant.
Quidura makes her first start since winning the Valley View (G3) here last fall in her second start since landing in the U.S. with the Motion barn. The filly stalked the early pace, came with a five-wide bid, took over the lead and held on while drifting outward. Four runners came out of that race to win next out including the runner up Linda, who won the Mrs Revere (G2) and the third-place finisher My Impression, who won the Winter Memories in her next outing.
She has been working at Palm Meadows for her return for the Motion barn that is 16% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. Worth tossing in the mix if she goes off near her 10-1 morning line.
WIN: #1 to win at 7-5 or better.
EX: 1,7 / 1,6,7,8
TRI: 1,7 / 1,6,7,8 / 1,3,6,7,8
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